Conversations to improve the automobile customer experience

We knew the situation was dire. However, our own car-shopping experiences allowed us to understand the frustration. From having to wait too long for information to repeatedly retelling our stories to different departments, the entire experience was disappointing.


Dealershipsavaging, disjointed, constant dialogue, and competitive interactions. not a helpful, continuous discourse, as we have come to expect from brands.


We delve into the rationale behind shifting focus from sales to conversations, the anatomy of an engaging conversation, and how to use conversations to enhance the consumer experience.


If you are not persuaded, go buy a car.


What is amiss with the current sales-driven strategy?

When prospective customers initiate contact, they are promptly added to a sales pipeline. a linear sequence of events designed to move prospects from unqualified leads to qualified leads and, if all goes according to plan, to a sale.


Several errors exist here.


Customers are frustrated by the typical sales process.

The traditional sales pipeline hinders the connection between customers and enterprises. Often, just establishing the initial connection requires a lengthy game of back-and-forth in which both parties give up.


Retailers must qualify leads and pursue them via phone and email multiple times before making contact. Leads are required to complete forms, wait unhappily for a callback, listen to voicemails, and wait again. As they progress through the process, they interact with numerous departments, including BDC, sales, and finance, among others.


The language used by those who wish to conduct commerce with you.

The manner in which businesses discuss their consumers reveals how much they value them. When businesses discuss individuals in terms of leads and sales, the business-customer relationship is transactional from the outset and concentrates on the monetary value a customer represents.


The procedure lacks consistency. It is not personal. It is not human-centered. It is the antithesis of what makes modern consumers excited.


What do engaging dialogues entail?

Engaging dialogues necessitate connecting with consumers in real-time to facilitate their transition from one stage of their customer journey to the next. Customers engage in a continuous dialogue with your brand, both in-person and across devices and applications.


By enabling automotive consumers to connect with your company when, how, and where they choose, you can eliminate friction along the customer journey and create the standard of customer experience that consumers now expect from every brand with which they choose to engage.


It is presently impossible for sales teams to provide instant and helpful responses to every single end user without assistance. For auto retailers to achieve this at scale, conversation-automating technology is essential.


The structure of a captivating discourse

Constantly, dealerships have constant dialogue with prospects and customers. But not all conversations are made equal. Engaging conversations combine the basic elements of human communication and more recent expectations driven by communications technology.


Let’s first remind ourselves of the basics.


The definition of a conversation is, and always has been, an informal exchange of ideas and information between people. And whether chatting with friends or businesses, “people expect conversations to be helpful, personal, and empathetic.” We’ll explain.


Helpful. Customers begin conversations with an intended outcome. Maybe they want more information on prices or specs, or they want to book a vehicle inspection. Dealerships need to give relevant answers to help customers reach their goals quickly.


Personal. No one wants to feel like a number. Customers want to feel like brands are carving out time to have one-on-one conversations with them. Personalizing conversations includes using the customer’s name and tailoring recommendations based on their knowledge or preferences. This makes customers feel valued and more likely to remain loyal.


Empathetic. This is the opposite of the more apathetic traditional marketing and sales techniques, where sellers do most of the talking. People want to feel like they are listened to and understood. This means that customers must have control of the conversation—they ask questions, they choose when to engage. Retailers must listen carefully and respond when the opportunity arises.


Second, we need to take into context the modern-day influences that are shaping conversations. Messaging technology is shifting customer behavior and leading consumer brands are setting new standards. Conversations also need to be:


In the right place. Many consumer-business conversations happen in the digital sphere, via SMS, instant messaging apps, chatbots, or social media. Dealerships need to meet customers wherever they are or lose out to competitors that readily communicate via these platforms.


At the right time. Customers don’t like hanging around for answers. They expect brands to respond almost instantaneously to messages. (Even at 3am, when your sales team is sleeping.) Conversational platforms allow dealerships to automate immediate responses to queries no matter the time and no matter the scale. Without the need for sales and support to work around the clock.


Improving the end-to-end customer experience with engaging conversations

We touched on some of the pain points customers experience in the “sales pipeline.” This is only a snapshot of the bigger picture. Pain points span the end-to-end automotive customer journey, from pre-purchase to customer service, to the end of the relationship. A direct consequence is painfully low customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Yet auto dealers still have the opportunity to turn this around. Enabling real-time conversations across the customer journey can directly impact the customer experience and their loyalty to your company.


Let’s see how dealerships can use conversations during the purchase journey, customer service, and beyond.


Nurture new contacts

In the run-up to purchase, potential buyers typically interact multiple times with dealerships via a number of platforms. They want answers quickly. After just five minutes, lead response times significantly decline.


This creates chaos for sales teams. We see it all the time. Sales agents bust a gut to find every incoming message and reply in quickly time. But the sheer volume of messages is too much to handle and responses are delayed. In the end, potential customers lose patience and find answers elsewhere.


Dealerships can take advantage of real-time conversations to reply to incoming queries quickly and keep customers engaged. Dealers can set up automatic messages and message sequences to new inquiries so they can send out relevant replies to queries as and when they come in. At the least, this helps to keep the buyer connected until a member of your team can engage in a deeper conversation.


For the business, not only can speed keep customers in your sales funnel, it can potentially reduce the time they stay there and increase your ROI.


Improve customer service satisfaction

Any dealership can see that customer loyalty is declining. A number of factors are to blame, but customer service (or lack of) is a big one. According to a Microsoft survey, 95% of 5,000 respondents said that customer service influences their loyalty to a brand. With tunnel vision for closing the deal, dealers are unable to give customers the level of service they expect.


Real-time conversations enable customers to communicate how and when they want with the automotive service team. This can help customers troubleshoot minor issues out of working hours, or keep them engaged until a service technician is available. Conversation bots can also schedule service appointments, which makes the process quicker and easier for customers and the dealer.


Plus, car dealers can automate sales follow-ups without even having to pick up the phone. For instance, you can automatically send a friendly SMS to check on all customers that purchased within the past few days or remind them later on to book a vehicle service check-up.


Re-engage long-lost contacts

Sales teams are grafting to respond to prospective buyers, yet old contacts haven’t heard a peep from you in years. Your customers are much more likely to purchase from you than non-customers. So, why do most auto retailers focus more on nurturing new “leads” than old ones?”


Hey, we know it’s not easy. Dealerships don’t have departments dedicated to re-engaging, so it takes time and manpower you don’t have. This is where real-time conversations come in. They allow you to automate the re-engagement process by initiating conversations with all those contacts who purchased months, years, or even decades ago.


For example, you could automatically engage with customers who bought, say, over five years ago to see if they want to trade up their model or send an automated reminder to customers whose lease warranty will soon expire.


Automotive consumers are unhappy about dealerships’ “lack of interest [and failure] to interact” once the sale is done, according to Deloitte research. Keeping the conversation going afterward with the help of technology isn’t just the perfect antidote, it also gives them a good reason to stay loyal.


Nothing gives you better insight into your customers’ experience than putting yourself in their shoes.

No leads were lost. reduced overhead.
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